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Osteoarthritis and Aging: Young Adults with Osteoarthritis

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Purpose of Review

Despite perceptions that osteoarthritis only affects older adults, many people develop osteoarthritis before 65 years of age and live decades with pain and disability. It is critical to understand why some adults develop osteoarthritis early in life and the consequences of aging with osteoarthritis.

Recent Findings

Over half of people diagnosed with symptomatic knee osteoarthritis are under 65 years of age. Key risk factors are joint injury, certain occupations (e.g., tactical athletes), obesity, and aberrant hip shape. Young adults with osteoarthritis report significant mental health concerns and challenges engaging in the workforce. Primary/secondary prevention strategies need more attention. For young adults with osteoarthritis, education and self-management strategies, particularly as part of a coordinated care strategy, may be ideal.


Many people live decades with osteoarthritis and need proactive treatment strategies to delay the need for joint replacement. We urgently need to further study young adults with osteoarthritis.

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    Correspondence to Jeffrey B. Driban.

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    Dr. Driban reports grants from NIAMS/NIH, personal fees from Pfizer Inc., and Eli Lilly and Company for work outside the submitted work.

    Dr. McAlindon reports non-financial support from Pfizer Inc. and Eli Lilly and Company, during the conduct of the study; personal fees from Pfizer, outside the submitted work; and Consulting for: Pfizer, Sanofi Aventis US, Kolon Tissuegene, Samumed, Seikagaku, Kiniksa Pharmaceuticals, and Anika Therapeutics.

    All other authors have nothing to disclose.

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    Driban, J.B., Harkey, M.S., Liu, S. et al. Osteoarthritis and Aging: Young Adults with Osteoarthritis. Curr Epidemiol Rep (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40471-020-00224-7

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    • Knee
    • Shoulder
    • Hip
    • Quality of life
    • Mental health